The microwave is the ultimate invention for a quick meal, a wonderfully simple contraption which cooks your food within minutes, eliminating the boredom and insatiable hunger of waiting for an oven-cooked meal.
However, for many, this convenient method of meal preparation is too good to be true and is largely associated with being unhealthy and lazy.
In this modern age, most people lead hectic lives with demanding schedules which leave little time for non-essential activities such as pre-preparing meals and gym attendance. Those that do manage to include such vital components of self-improvement and maintenance are always on the lookout for ways to optimize the efficiency of their time management, which is where a machine such as a microwave can be so useful.
Heating your food via radiation may sound negative and not too dissimilar from laying down in the hot sun and exposing yourself to harmful UV rays, but in actual fact, if you follow the simple instructions when cooking in this way, your food can still be as nutritious and healthy as any other meal cooked using a different technique.
In this article, I will introduce you to the proper practices you need to follow to avoid contaminating your food when using your favorite household appliance, as well as some of the tastiest meals you can produce using a microwave.
But first, let’s discuss exactly how this wonderful rapid heater of food works in more detail and exactly why you shouldn’t pay attention to those who dismiss microwaves as nothing more than an unnecessary novelty.
How microwaves affect your food
To put it simply, radiation emitted by your microwave causes the molecules within your food to bump into each other and move around, producing kinetic energy which causes heat.
Every single form of cooking will have an extreme effect on the nutrients within the food you are consuming because many of them can be very heat sensitive, but that does not necessarily mean you will be killing the goodness within.
The fact is, the longer your food is exposed to high temperatures, the more likely you are to reduce the valuable nutritional content which is why microwaves can actually be the most healthy and effective way of cooking.
Ideally, your ingredients should only be exposed to intense heat for small amounts of time and with a minimal amount of liquid. Water levels are also important when using a microwave because too much water can cause the nutritional value in your food to drop – and you thought boiling vegetables on the stove was the healthy way of preparing your greens!
Microwaving your meals fits all the criteria for the best method of food preparation and if you follow the proper steps religiously there is absolutely no doubt you can maximize the number of nutrients, minerals and vitamins you ingest as well as save a significant amount of time.
Essential microwaving tips
There are simple techniques you can follow to prepare your meals safely to cook in your microwave within a matter of minutes, successfully debunking all those horror stories and legends you have heard about the mainstay of kitchen appliances.
Here are the main steps to adhere to when using a microwave for maximum effectiveness and nutritional value.
- Water Levels – As we have already touched on previously, too much water can have a detrimental impact on the nutritional makeup of your food, so try not to use more than a few spoonfuls of water with any vegetables.
- Stir consistently – To evenly heat your microwave meal make sure you stir the mixture every so often, which will help maintain the nutrients within.
- Use appropriate containers – Do not just stick your food in any old plastic container, because plastic can be extremely harmful and potentially toxic to your food. Use microwave-safe or glass containers at all times.
- Do not overheat – Don’t assume that because your vegetables are not yet soggy they have not been cooked properly after being in the microwave for the recommended amount of minutes. Short cooking time is key to preserving vital ingredients such as vitamin C and Glucosinolate (cancer-fighting property).
- Cover tightly – Make sure that your food is tightly locked into its container so that it cooks quickly inside out, ensuring once again that you do not lose any essential goodness in your food or risk contamination.
Great microwave meals
Some of the best meals you’ll ever eat can be produced using a microwave and here are just a few of the most delicious and nourishing feasts you can knock up in a spare 10-15 minutes on a lunch break at work or just after an intense gym session.
Chicken Jambalaya: Made up of small chunks of chicken, various peppers, tomatoes and rice, Jambalaya is a tasty and convenient meal full of minerals and protein which can be the ideal post-workout concoction.
Vegetable Risotto: Peas, broad beans, asparagus, vegetable stock and rice are your typical ingredients for this high energy fare which is perfect to kickstart your day or indeed perk you up around lunchtime or before a bout of physical exertion.
Sweet potato and tuna jackets: Two highly nutritious foods merged together for the ultimate combo of succulence and goodness, not to mention a low-fat meal and suitably filling for any time of the day.
Enchiladas – Mexican dish which can contain potatoes, meat, vegetables, cheese, beans and even guacamole. Wrapped in individual tortillas and cooked until crispy in your microwave, you can add salsa or chilli sauce too to really give this great meal a pungent kick.
Macaroni and cheese – An old classic and a healthy carbohydrate filled dish perfect for boosting your energy levels. Macaroni pasta with creamy cheese and a few herbs sprinkled on top, this tasty and convenient meal never goes out of fashion.
Don’t hate your microwave anymore
I truly hope that this article has gone some way to quelling any irrational fears you may have harbored in regards to the engineering marvel that is the microwave and that you can use yours guilt free from now on.
Don’t feel inhibited by the constraints of time and continue to make excuses for being unable to feed your body the necessary fuel it needs to function at its best. With a microwave at your disposal, there is no need to worry or stress as the healthy lifestyle you dream of can be achieved no matter how busy your day to day life may be.
Just remember to follow the simple instructions for dish preparation to ensure you do not lose the vital ingredients which can be of such great benefit to you and eradicate any health risks that can come with under or overcooked food.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to spend hour after hour slaving away in the kitchen, day in day out to prepare highly nutritious meals on a regular basis.
A microwave doesn’t necessarily have to be the only way you cook your food, however, the unfair stigma attached to these wonderful accessories does need to be removed quickly because it is time everyone realized just how beneficial and time-saving they can be.
Your progress in the gym could see a massive increase if you can add a few more meals in throughout your day and since quick cooking is the best cooking, you have no excuse not to get the most out of your microwave and start working towards a healthy, happier and more energetic version of yourself.